Part II = Importing a car to Canada from the USA -

The following came from a reader and is worth passing on.
Unfortunately, t was truncated but I
believe i answered the hours of operation in Part I.  Note, that
they will also accept faxed documents to get started
but you should have the original at the border itself.
Mr. Ingram:
Some key points were missed in your reply to the person asking
importing their car to Canada once they are already in Canada...
I base the following on my experience of importing my US car into
Ontario in
early 2002.  Note:  I have dual US-Canada citizenship and was
returning to
Canada after many years in the US; the car was purchased in the
US 16
months before I moved to Canada (and at the time of purchase I
planning on staying in the US).  I did my research BEFORE the
(which I suggest everybody do!!!), so it went mostly
A US insurer probably only covers the vehicle for a brief period
once it has
been moved to Canada.  The insurer needs to be told where the car
is (the
"garage address" is now Canada, not the US).
My insurance provider in the US was Geico.  They DO cover
vehicles in
other countries (e.g. they cater to military personnel who would
abroad and take their car with them).  But NOT Canada.
Geico had no problem insuring my car for the first thirty (30)
DAYS it was in
Canada, to allow me time to get insurance coverage in Canada for
the car.
They would cover it at the provincial (Ontario) minimums at no
extra charge.
They sent me the inter-provincial coverage card -- the same as
they send if
one is travelling to Canada just for vacation (did you know they
have such
things ?  they do!!  *ASK* ).
The key is -- your "garage address" - where the car is "kept" -
changes.  It is
no longer in the US.  Also, insurance minimums are MUCH higher in
Canada than most places in the US.  Some Canadian provinces are
fault" jurisdictions.  This has consequences for an insurer.
Now there ARE some insurance companies with a presence in Canada
the US -- e.g. Allstate.  But there is usually a US and Canadian
"arm" to the
company and when you switch countries you must formally get a new
under the new country's arm.
Bottom line:
- the original poster may have NO insurance because they failed
to notify
the insurer the car has moved
- their US insurance may only cover them for a brief period of
time, to allow
them to get Canadian coverage
==> they really need to talk with their US insurer
==> they need to look into getting Canadian insurance
<< and I hope they haven't made similar assumptions about their
insurance -- they could be in for a big surprise!! >>
Mr. Ingram is quite correct that you have to export your car from
the US
first, before importing it into Canada.
However, if you are working with nice Customs people (on both
sides!) -- in
my experience, I have yet to discover a Customs person who is NOT
nice  --
they have some level of discretion and may be able to help
resolve the
situation fairly painlessly.  Or not -- it really depends on how
messy the
situation actually is.  But, in my experience anyway, they will
at least try to
figure out a solution.
Exporting the car from the US requires that you have the US
registration and title.  If the car has a lien on it, like mine
did from GMAC
(remember, the car was not even 18 months old!  it was still
financed!), you
won't have the original title.  You will have a copy of the title
though.  If this
is your situation, you will ALSO need a letter from the
lien-holder giving you
permission to take the car out of the US (CHECK WITH CUSTOMS !).
CUSTOMS at your chosen border crossing point will tell you
what they need -- give them what they need !!  Remember to
include a nice
cover letter explaining what you are doing and what you have
The US Customs office needs the paperwork at least 72 hours in
of your crossing.  Many will accept a Fed-Ex envelope containing
it (gets it
there quickly + is trackable).  You will have to call them to get
their street
address, but you need to call and talk with them first anyway!!
Some crossings have limited hours of operation during which they
David Ingram's US/Canada Services
US / Canada / Mexico tax, Immigration and working Visa
US / Canada Real Estate Specialists
Home office at:
4466 Prospect Road
North Vancouver,  BC, CANADA, V7N 3L7
Cell (604) 657-8451 -
(604) 980-0321 Fax (604) 980-0325
Calls welcomed from 10 AM to 10 PM 7 days a week (please do not
fax or phone outside of those hours as this is a home office)
email to taxman at
Disclaimer:  This question has been answered without detailed
information or consultation and is to be regarded only as general
comment.   Nothing in this message is or should be construed as
advice in any particular circumstances. No contract exists
between the reader and the author and any and all non-contractual
duties are expressly denied. All readers should obtain formal
advice from a competent and appropriately qualified legal
practitioner or tax specialist for expert help, assistance,
preparation, or consultation  in connection with personal or
business affairs such as at If you forward this
message, this disclaimer must be included."
Be ALERT,  the world needs more "lerts"
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...


Trackback URL for this entry:

No trackback comments for this entry.